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Hedda Gabler

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3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  24,006 Ratings  ·  369 Reviews
Hedda Gabler, the daughter of a deceased General, marries dull George Tesman and foresees a life of middle class tedium stretching ahead when they return from their honeymoon. Increasingly, she is drawn into the clutches of her admirer, Judge Brack, who seeks to establish a ménage à trois. Then the brilliant but dissolute Eilert Lovborg, a former flame, arrives to rival he ...more
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published (first published December 1890)
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Kalliope
Jun 06, 2015 Kalliope rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation



What is in a text, what was written, what we read, or, in the case of plays, what is acted out?

Continuing my theatre season, I attended a performance of Hedda Gabler, but read the text before hand, and listened in parallel to an excellent dramatized version .

I had watched another performance during my university days, and my memories of the work seem to be centered on the rights of women. To find their own place in their society and to find and exert their own volition in their lives aI recalled
...more
Mariel
Feb 21, 2013 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: now I am burning your child
Recommended to Mariel by: Sean
I want for once in my life to have power to mould a human destiny.


People are in other rooms, people sitting on sofas and people behind desks. Voices from other rooms and voices carry. People have their destinies as their children in hearts cold ashen wombs worth nothing until it thrown away. I don't want to call it human. I don't see arms and legs and feet.
I felt the tragedy of the loss of Hedda Gabler's life to her own colorless lightning when the speed stopped. Big eyes in a head and I don't k
...more
Amy
Jan 16, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark, intriguing, and really, really good. This work of Ibsen's strips his characters of anything spiritual and focuses intently on the society in which they find themselves in, and boy, the nineteenth-century was strictand super dull.

Hedda is trapped in an era that she is too modern for - she's stuck in an unhappy marriage simply to keep the middle class lifestyle that a woman in that time wouldn't have been able to uphold on her own. She wants to be independent and free but society holds up a
...more
Josh Belville
Oct 01, 2011 Josh Belville rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
I suppose in the long run, I prefer Hedda Gabler to Doll's House, if only because Hedda is such an amazing protagonist to watch when you think of the social context of the play being performed in 1890. Today, she seems like a cold, heartless bitch. And even back then, people may have thought that. But she also bucks the trend of the "well made play," by becoming an anti-hero of sorts. And really, who is the one to follow in this play in the first place? George? Eilert? Mrs Elvsted? No one seems ...more
Mara Shaw
Sep 23, 2012 Mara Shaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ibsen captured the horror of the limited options available to women of propriety in 1890 with violence and virtuosity. It is irrelevant whether you like Hedda or not. She was not cut out to live within the straight jacket of society. None of the available options -- and Ibsen brilliantly explores them all (marriage, affair, manipulation of men) -- were a hell to her.

This play shook the world of "women's" lit long before women could vote. Originally performed only for women, it surprised the the
...more
Lavinia
Aug 29, 2014 Lavinia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, in-en, 2012
Dark is probably not the adjective to describe it. I've seen it mentioned in one of the descriptions. Nor is Hedda evil. But the drama definitely holds a certain coldness to it (the same coldness one meets in Bergman's films, I'm tempted to say) and I cannot admit I understand Hedda entirely; she starts as a master of puppets, seems mischievous and always plotting but ends up alone and misunderstood. And makes you think she was alone and misunderstood all along.
I'm definitely looking forward to
...more
Beth
This is undoubtedly a play to be performed if one ever existed. Hedda is a brilliant female character - Lady Macbeth meets Betty Draper. She must be applauded as a female character who is not a hero or a villain, not a bitch or a crone, but a cruel, neurotic, charismatic presence. I was surprised by the almost feminism of Ibsen's play, how he manages to serve Hedda so well, with fantastic dry wit - the subtlety of the scene between her and Judge Brack would be spine-chilling on stage - and glori ...more
Carol
Mar 09, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play, ibsen
Hedda Gabler is truly an intelligent, unpredictable, self-centered, manipulating woman. She enjoys the luxurious lifestyle and has found some poor sap, Jurgen Tesman, to marry her. The play begins with their arrival home from their 6 month honeymoon. Tesman's aunt Julie, arrives at their home to meet the newlyweds with a gift of slippers for Tesman from his sickly aunt Rina. It appears that Hedda's clothing is loose fitting and she seems to be "showing" (pregnant). Hedda insults both her husband ...more
Lizzie
Read via DailyLit in 47 parts. (Edmund Gosse and William Archer translation.) I read this in college in a very bad class, and I was curious about NYC's new revival so it was time for a reread. Thank goodness! I only remembered what happens at the end, and not at all why.

This read was much more thought-provoking. And somehow, though it is key, I didn't recall the theme of Hedda's pregnancy at all. (It was a really bad class.) And that's not a spoiled revelation; though she only (barely) admits it
...more
Bruce
Oct 17, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harold Bloom has called this play Shakespearean in scope and character, and I think he is correct. The central enigma is Hedda herself, a character of erotic self-destructiveness, fascinating and frightening simultaneously. Is she the embodiment of pure and inexplicable evil, as Iago would seem to be, or is she a victim of her time and culture, a woman of profound aspirations and ability trapped in a constricted and unimaginative marriage and role from which she tries desperately to escape? Her ...more
Jo
Jan 25, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it
An interesting look at how a society based on reputation functions. The last line of the play (Good God! People don't do such things) is really reinforcing that concept that one's reputation is more important than one's character. Hedda is not a likeable character. She is manipulative and has a mean streak. Her desire to create the best life for herself leads her to make decisions which seem cold blooded. However, the society where she finds herself doesn't give her too many options. Her sex lim ...more
BrokenTune
Feb 26, 2015 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Why, oh why, do I get the impression that Ibsen didn't like his female protagonists very much?

Or, in other words, is there a specific reason that both Nora (from A Doll's House) and Hedda are written as two rather silly women, both incapable of a rational thought?

Surely, exploring the theme of individuals trapped in situation which they want to escape from has more to offer than half-baked schemes, lies, deception, and artistic illusions?

Ugh...
Laura
Mar 09, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Brian Friel's version of Hedda Gabler throws new light on its two female archetypes - Hedda, the beautiful trapped and doomed heroine; and Thea, the less socially admired, yet much freer, new woman. Both women ultimately take their fate into their own hands, in very different ways.


Michelle
Jan 25, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, audiobook
I was supposed to read this book a long time ago in undergrad. I finally got around to it. I'm sure it has some deep symbolic meaning attached to it, but here are my conclusions. Hedda was a horrible person. I didn't think I was supposed to feel sympathy for her until the end, but even then.
Bronte
Sep 18, 2011 Bronte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I had to read it for class I entered the play knowing what to look out for; however, even without a set goal in mind this is a very thought-provoking piece. Strange enough I could sympathize with Hedda although she was very unstable and manipulative. The lifestyle she married into seemed like a nightmare, having a husband who found the excitement in old documents and organizing. Of course, she shouldn't have married into that lifestyle if she knew she wouldn't be happy, but I digress.

A th
...more
Nathan
Dec 09, 2012 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t read plays often - I’m most inclined to read a play in anticipation of seeing a live performance of it. (I have numerous happy memories of sitting in line outside the Public Theatre in New York on a summer morning, reading a Shakespeare play while I waited for the free tickets to see an exquisite production at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park that night.) When I do read plays, I am struck by the way most of them require more proactivity than most literature. One must infer an unders ...more
Mya
Feb 22, 2016 Mya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't like it

I thought hedda was a bitch and got was she deserve.

I guess I ca understand this desire for freedom.
 Sophia B
Only Ibsen could write Hedda, our dear Hedda Gabler, beloved and hated, she fascinates us and repels us. She. She. She.
Trapped in a home, in a marriage. With child. Trapped in a society where women belong to the home, to the man, to the child(ren). What is there for her to control? What is there for her to live - and to die for? What is the way out of the trap?
Eli
Aug 06, 2015 Eli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
همه ی ایبسن دوست ناداران بنظرم کلاه گشادی سرشون رفته و جا داره یک بوسی بفرستم بر آن بزرگوار. و جا داره ذکر کنم تراژدی هاش از نوع تراژدی های یونان باستانه ولی شخصیت هاش بعد روانشناسانه دارن (هرچند نه خیلی پیچیده و همچنان در سطح بضاعت خودش) و خوشبختانه نتیجه نه لوس میشه نه مزخرف؛ که خیلی هم قشنگ و به دل نشیننده.
Vanessa
Feb 15, 2015 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, kindle-reads
I enjoyed this play - it was a quick and easy read, and each character had a definite personality of their own which made it easy to distinguish between them in such a short space of time.

The play revolves around Hedda Gabler, a newly married woman who is bored with her marriage and life, and likes to toy with people and influence their fates. Ibsen writes about themes of jealousy, rivalry over both love and careers, and the female position in the home, with a deftness that made this play drama
...more
Khaled Al-Bahnsawy
Feb 06, 2014 Khaled Al-Bahnsawy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: henrik-ibsen
الصدفه بمفردها التى جمعتنى بقراءة هذه المسرحيه
الحقيقه اننى كنت قرأت عن تأثير هنريك ابسن على المسرح العالمى و وودت انا اشرع فى القراءه له ويدات فعلا بقراءه بيت الدميه لكن للاسف بعد وصولى للمنتصف نسيت المسرحيه فى المكتب
فقررت الشروع بقراءه احد اشهر مسرحياته الأخرى وهيا هيدا جابلر
الترجمه السيئه لحلمى مراد اضرت كثيرا باستمتاعى بها
اعجبنى كثيرا طريقه رسم شخصيه هيدا
(امرأة عقيم، مفترسة في عقمها، فكأنما هي جرادة في أحد المروج، تأكل كل ما تقع عليه من زرع نضير وتحل محله الخراب)
اقتبست هذا التعليق لانه م
...more
Ananya
Jul 31, 2015 Ananya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favourite Ibsen play so far. If you're gonna read something by him it has to be this.
Also how do you stop judging characters negatively when they don't conform to your definition of normalcy? How to NOT always step on a moral high ground and criticize them for their thoughts or actions? Can you be indifferent as a reader or maybe more sympathetic?
Idk I feel something is wrong with how I read a text. I'm realizing this now after having dealt with basically every Ibsen character being in a lo
...more
Ben
Apr 17, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kassia
Jun 04, 2011 Kassia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-2011
From the title of the play, it becomes obvious what the play is going to be about: a woman named Hedda Gabler. This woman has an extremely complicated personality. It is hard to guess what is going on in her head at any moment in time. Even her husband, George Tesman, hasn’t really figured out his own wife. The first step in understanding Hedda is to understand how she feels about her life.

From the beginning of the play, Hedda clearly expresses a sense of boredom in everything that she says and
...more
Kristin
I read the 1972 translation (or "adaptation") by John Osborne, but also checked out the original 1890 English translation by Edmund Goose as a comparative reference. It didn't appear that Osborne really changed much except making the language simpler and clearer. I did take note of Goose's explanation of the differences in the use of the familiar versus formal "you," a shade that doesn't translate well (for his version, he used "thou" as a substitute, but today that just seems overtly stilted). ...more
Daria
Jul 23, 2010 Daria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, theatre
I liked this one more than A Doll's House - it was longer, expanded into a greater cast of characters, and was infinitely more complex. It was also more difficult to understand (not in terms of what happens, but in the ways that the characters relate to each other). I probably missed all the allegories/symbolism/stuff English papers are made of, but that's alright for me (even though I wouldn't mind discussing this play with a knowledgeable teacher or two).

Enter Hedda Gabler - bored, fallen, he
...more
Devon
Apr 10, 2009 Devon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it's extremely interesting that a Norwegian man and a woman from Louisiana could have so much in common as far as societal observation goes. Because, seriously, I just read "The Awakening" and...yeah.

As far as that goes, though, I think I prefer Hedda Gabler. I just like Ibsen's writing better, I think (and I read two translations at once, which was a REAL trip.) Also, Ibsen's characters were kind of hilarious. I'm not saying that I didn't poke fun at everyone in "The Awakening" (because
...more
Dianne
Jun 19, 2013 Dianne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I'm not usually a reader of plays but I've been hearing about this one forever so, with no opportunity to see it performed, I thought the book would be the best way to find out what it was all about. It's very short, four acts in seventy-two pages, but I wouldn't have wanted it to be any longer. Maybe I'm not artsy enough or something but I didn't find anything very exciting or meaningful in the story.

The entire play takes place in the drawing room of George and Hedda (Gabler) Tesman, who have j
...more
Maisie Harrison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Beeson
May 28, 2013 David Beeson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are three great heroines of nineteenth century literature whose tragedy is that they are denied the dramatic and inspiring lives to which they feel entitled: Emma Bovary, Anna Karenina and Hedda Gabler.

All three are married to men who are certainly adequate from the point of view of ordinary people, but perhaps no more than that; and from the point of view of the life not ordinary, because it belongs on the noble heights of tragic aspiration, adequate is simply not enough.

Of the three, Hed
...more
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Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.

His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian valu
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